Miss Abigail’s thought for the week: bring back puzzles!
While waiting for one of my parent workshops to start this week, we had a go at doing a big wooden tangram puzzle that lives outside on the table in the creative play area. Despite several good adult brains working hard on it, we failed to crack it in the time we had. Some people didn’t want to go home at the end, not having completed the puzzle! This got me thinking about the kind of determination, grit and commitment these kind of puzzles develop in us. I am a crossword fiend. My mum is a su doku genius. The Tower of Hanoi puzzle in the creative play area (the one with the wooden discs) would be a favourite way to while away an afternoon, had I the time. Different kinds of puzzles appeal to different people but most of us have something that, once started, we struggle to leave alone until the job is done. A lot of children don’t have that level of perseverance about anything. Puzzles like this have fallen out of fashion somewhat, in favour of (mainly) digital pursuits, but there is great power in them.
This website has a great explanation of tangram puzzles and a load of fun activities to do. https://www.parentingscience.com/tangrams-for-kids.html
Last year, we had Aysha Jamsheer in school. She is a Bahraini Rubiks cube record holder (check out https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/persons/2017JAMS01) and she came into school to demonstrate how she can solve a Rubiks cube in only 20 seconds! Puzzles like these develop a lot of mental and physical skills and can become really addictive! Several of our children last year ‘got the bug’ and developed some pretty impressive skills. Check out speedcubing on Youtube – it will blow your mind!
Let’s start a movement: bring back puzzling! Jigsaws. Mazes. 3D manipulative puzzles. Crosswords and wordsearches. Chess. Word puzzle games like Dingbats or Boggle. Strategy board games such as Settlers of Catan or Risk. Tangrams. They are good for kids’ brains and they are good for focused attention, grit and ‘stickability’.
(By the way, a couple of 9 yr olds solved the wooden tangram during their break time = humbling!)